EPA Rules Delay on Cement, Boilers Backed by House Subcommittee

A U.S. House committee panel voted to delay Environmental Protection Agency rules that would limit pollution from cement plants and industrial boilers.

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s panel on Energy and Power, on a voice vote today, approved legislation that Republicans said will mesh with President Barack Obama’s bid to boost spending on roads, bridges and ports.

“It makes no sense for the administration to encourage infrastructure on the one hand, while saddling the cement industry with costly regulations on the other,” Representative Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican who is the subcommittee’s chairman, said before the vote.

Republicans in Congress have proposed measures to scuttle or postpone regulations put in place or being developed by the EPA, saying business owners need encouragement to spur economic recovery.

“The one thing that is not debatable is the jobs crisis right now,” Representative Brian Bilbray, a California Republican, said before the vote. “Jobs are more important than any other item right now.”

The subcommittee acted on measures that would delay limits on mercury from cement-plant smokestacks and on toxic releases from industrial boilers at factories such as refineries and chemical manufacturers.

The EPA is reworking the boiler standards and planning a revision by the end of October with the rules in effect in April. Gina McCarthy, deputy administrator of the EPA, told the panel last week that the Obama administration opposes both measures and doesn’t need the extra time.

Some Democrats said they hoped Republicans would agree to amend the provision so that they could support it before the measures comes up for a vote in the full committee. The lawmakers are seeking a “definite timeline” in the legislation for when the rules will be issued, something lacking from the these measures, said Representative Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat.

The cement measure is H.R. 2681 and the boiler measure is H.R. 2250.

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